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A Swedish speaking region of Finland, Aland is made up of 6,500 islands and islets; the largest island is home to 90% of the population, and is known as Fasta Aland or main island.
Located in the Baltic Sea, Aland is the smallest region of Finland, and while there are thousands of recorded islands, only roughly eighty are actually inhabited. With a population of around 28,500, this might not be the busiest place in the world, but it still has a great deal to offer for both residents and tourists alike.
When it comes to activities and attractions, Aland has something for everyone. Featuring the stunning typical Finnish landscapes and scenery, keen walkers and hikers will love exploring the forests, mountains and coastal areas, while anyone who enjoys taking in a little culture and the arts is well catered for with numerous museums, points of interest and shops selling local handicrafts.
Anyone wanting to discover more about Aland's rich history should start by visiting a few of the local monuments, museums and attractions. Jan Karlsgarden is a typical farm from the 1800s, and shows visitors what life was like on the islands before modernisation and technology, while the twelve medieval churches are great examples of historical Aland architecture. One of the finest historical attractions, however, has to be the Castle of Kasteholm, which was built in the 1300s and has a rich and exciting past.
The journey to Aland by sea is renowned for being one of the most pleasant in Scandinavia. The islands are located at the halfway point between Stockholm and Helsinki, and the ferry journey passes several other islands and majestic coast lines; many people choose to take the ferry rather than to fly in for this exact reason.
The ferries themselves are incredibly large and extremely well equipped; they run several times a day, and passengers can take advantage of various facilities such as restaurants, tax-free shopping and on-board entertainment.
There are several different ferry routes from various countries including Sweden, Estonia and Finland available with the major ferry companies in the region - Eckero Line, Tallink Silja and Viking Line.
The Aland islands are incredibly accessible; there are numerous inter-island ferries which are free for passengers, and every one that is inhabited has roads and ferry ports. Getting around each island is also easy, with options such as town and country buses, taxis and car rental companies making exploring a simple and stress-free pleasure.
I''ve been on the Serenade to travel from Helsinki to Stockholm and was very impressed: it''s like a real little city and the entertainment, food and cabin were great! Would definitely love to travel on it again...Read More Read Less
My friend and I travelled from Helsinki to Stockholm on the Symphony and from the moment we walked onto the gang plank it felt like more of a cruise, than a ferry crossing! From the massive themed atrium full of shops and "street" entertainment such as singers and jugglers, to the glass lifts which take you to your decks - it was very impressive. As cabins go they were pretty standard, had everything needed for an overnight trip and were comfortable with en-suite facilities. The staff were extremely friendly especially in the bars, they would engage you in banter whilst you waited for drinks. The buffet restaurant was amazing, had every type of food you could think of from salads, to curries to chicken fajitas and nachos! Even better than the food choice was that beer and wine was included, and was self-service! After dinner and a few cocktails in one of the bars, we went to watch the midnight show - which was fabulous, and thoroughly engaging. The disco bar goes on until dawn, where the youngster’s party continue their party! The ship was first class, had excellent facilities and I would not hesitate to travel again if I was ever back in Helsinki or Stockholm.Read More Read Less
"Hi from France"
I travelled on board the Symphony several times, everything is perfect on this beautiful ferry, many shops with professional and extremely kind staff, entertainment is high quality, cabins are very clean and well-appointed (mirrors, electrical outlets properly located, storage, very functional lighting). Everything is done to satisfy the customer and I wish to travel on board again soon. Thanks!Read More Read Less
"My first crossing"
I had been staying with friends near Helsinki who suggested going to Stockholm and staying on board the Symphony as it would be a wonderful experience. Wow! She was so spot on and on boarding I was staring open mouthed most of the time at the sheer grandure of this spectactular vessel. The cabin was great, simple but had everything we needed and the food and entertainment were great. I dont think I've ever eaten so much or enjoyed singing kareaoke so much either. I must admit I didn't get a lot of sleep but it is and experience I will never forget.Read More Read Less
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